Malachi 3:1–4 (NRSV)
Chapter 3See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight-indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. Verse 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; Verse 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Verse 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
The prophet Malachi speaks of God’s promise to send a messenger. God has sent a messenger—many messengers—to us over the centuries, reminding us that God is truly with us, Emmanuel. But where should we look for such messengers? Our theme hymn suggests that we look to birthing women who, in their travail and pain, still anticipate the joy of new life as they breathe and breathe and breathe again through the pain. Malachi suggests that we can no more refuse God’s deep love than we can avoid the pain of God’s refining judgement. God draws us into new life through the birth of God’s child, reminding us that there is always hope, even in the midst of our suffering.
Mothering God, help us to breathe in deeply your love and breathe out the fear and uncertainties of our time. Help us to breathe in the promises your messengers have brought and breathe out the anxieties and defensiveness it is so easy to feel. We rest in your promise; we lean on your breast. Amen.